This Puerto Rican Empanadas recipe is crispy on the outside and packed with flavors from olives, sofrito, onions, and garlic on the inside! These Air Fryer Empanadas are easy to make, less messy and more healthy than frying them!
The first time I had Puerto Rican Beef Empanadas was on my first trip to Puerto Rico on a beach in San Juan where there was this little pop up stand on the beach making them fresh and selling them. The first bite my mouth exploded with flavor, I had no idea that such a small little stand could make little empanadas that were bursting with flavor.
These Puerto Rican Empanadas are set apart from other Empanadas by one main ingredient, sofrito. Sofrito is a flavorful sauce or base that is used in a lot of Puerto Rican recipes such as Picadillo. What sofrito consists of is peppers, tomatoes, onions, along with herbs and spices all blended together for one great taste! Please note that there are two types of sofrito used in Latin cooking. One includes tomatoes and the other does not. For this Puerto Rican recipe, you want to use the one without tomatoes, which is often also known as Recaito. You can usually find this Goya Recaito in your grocery store or from Amazon.
How To Make Puerto Rican Empanadas
Assemble your ingredients. For exact amounts see recipe card below.
The night before you want to cook these empanadas, place the frozen empanada wrappers in the refrigerator to thaw.
Before cooking, remove the empanada wrappers from the refrigerator so that they have at least 15 minutes to get to room temperature.
Heat a large pan using medium-high heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and then add the onions, garlic and sofrito. Sauté until the onions are translucent. About 5 minutes.
Add the beef to the pan and pour the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil over the beef and then pour the dry adobo on top of the beef. Stir and break up the beef into crumbles until it is well combined.
Add the potatoes, olives, bay leaves, raisins (if using), water, and tomato paste to the pan. Stir until it is well combined.
Increase the heat to high to bring the beef mixture to a boil.
Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for 10 minutes.
Uncover and let simmer for another 10 minutes or until sauce thickens.
Remove bay leaves and transfer beef mixture to a bowl. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C).
Place 1 to 2 Tablespoons of beef filling into the middle of each empanada wrapper.
Brush water around half of the outer edge of each wrapper.
Fold the wrapper over filling and then pinch the edges to seal. Using a fork, crimp the edges. Repeat this process with the remaining wrappers and filling.
Beat the 4 eggs and 4 Tablespoons of water together in a bowl to form an egg wash. Brush each empanada with the egg wash and then spray with cooking spray.
Place the empanadas in single layer in the air fryer basket and cook for 5 minutes. Flip empanadas over and continue cooking until light golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Repeat with remaining empanadas.
Serve warm and enjoy!
Dishes to Pair with Puerto Rican Empanadas:
Mexican Corn Salad – The perfect side dish for any Latin meal.
Queso Fundido Colorado – Smoky peppers added into a meatless queso for a little kick.
Vegetarian Smoky Chipotle Refried Beans – A great way to spice up your refried beans.
Storage and Reheating
You can store these Empanadas in an airtight container in your fridge for 2-3 days.
If you are going to freeze these I would do so before you air fry them. Then when you are ready to cook and serve you can take them out of your freezer for 15 mins before popping them into the Air Fryer to cook.
To reheat, pop them in the air fryer at 325°F for 3-5 minutes until they are entirely warmed up because no one likes a cold middle.
Puerto Rican Empanadas Recipe
For The Filling
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil - divided
- 1 large sweet yellow onion - small diced
- 4 cloves of garlic - minced
- 1/4 cup sofrito
- 1 pound ground 80/20 beef
- 1/2 teaspoon dry adobo
- 1 large potato - small diced
- 10 pimiento-stuffed olives - cut in half
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 Packages of 12 Goya Empanada wrappers for Baking or Frying
- 1/2 cup raisins - optional
For the Egg Wash
- 4 eggs
- 4 Tablespoons water
- Cooking Spray
- Cilantro leaves
- Lime wedges
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then add the onions, garlic, and sofrito. Sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the beef to the pan and pour the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the beef. Then, sprinkle the dry adobo on top. Stir and break up the beef into crumbles until well combined.
- Add the potatoes, olives, bay leaves, raisins (if using), water, and tomato paste to the pan. Stir until well combined.
- Increase the heat to high to bring the beef mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 10 minutes.
- Uncover and let simmer for another 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove the bay leaves and transfer the beef mixture to a bowl. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of beef filling in the middle of each empanada wrapper.
- Brush water around half of the outer edge of each wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling and pinch the edges to seal.
- Using a fork, crimp the edges. Repeat this process with the remaining wrappers and filling.
- Beat 4 eggs and 4 tablespoons of water together in a bowl to form an egg wash. Brush each empanada with the egg wash and then spray with cooking spray.
- Place the empanadas in a single layer in the air fryer basket and cook for 5 minutes. Flip the empanadas over and continue cooking until light golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining empanadas.